IQUA and Image Integrity

Orbograph IQUA, Image Quality (IQ)/Image Usability (IU)/Image Integrity (II) modules provide a comprehensive solution for identifying substandard check image quality (also referred to as Non-Compliant Images or NCI), unusable fields or images which mismatch the MICR index. By applying these capabilities, the capture system resident in a wide range of workflows can ensure that the check image captured meets the quality and warranty requirements for image exchange and Check 21 for each given exchange partner.

Defective images can increase risk of exposure and become an expensive adjustment process if not identified upstream in the check processing workflow.

McKinsey Check Costs Study

Cost of a poor quality image to collecting bank*:

  • $0.10 - $0.15 if identified before image transmission
  • $0.50 - $1.00 if returned by paying bank while check is still in transit bulk file
  • $20 - $40 if handled as an adjustment and retrieved from off-site storage
  • Average over $1,000 loss if no usable image can be found

Cost of poor quality image to the paying bank*:

  • $0.35 - $0.45 if identified within 24 hours and returned as an exception
  • $10 - $20 if identified before customer notices and claimed as an adjustment
  • $20 - $40 if found by customer, re-credited and claimed as an adjustment from collecting bank

Orbograph IQUA applies a variety of scoring techniques for evaluating the results of each quality detector including confidence scores and metric scores. Confidence scores are based on Orbograph’s traditional scoring technique of providing a normalized score from 0 to 100. Confidence scoring is a more traditional implementation for IQ and IU. Metric scores were developed and standardized for both the FSTC and FED. Metrics use specific measured numeric traits of the document for each detector in IQ. Note that the metric approach is supported with IQ, as an industry standard has not been adopted for field level metric standards.

Many clients choose to implement the FSTC Image Quality Metrics or the FED Image Quality Settings for the IQ requirements. For example, the FSTC metrics have 15 specific tests which map to Orbograph detector names. The capture application can use Orbograph accept/reject parameter settings or the results of each test can be deciphered by the capture application. Specific tests of FSTC include undersized/oversized images, folded corners or edges, framing errors, skew, piggyback images, too dark/light, horizontal streaks, below/above compression size, spot noise, front-rear mismatch and carbon strip detection. If a less intensive IQ process is desired, the ability to choose only minimal tests is also available, i.e. too dark or too light.

IU is typically implemented on a selective basis. Due to the varying levels of field usability, the capture application needs to find a balance between detection rates and suspect rates. Many organizations apply dollar thresholds to the IU tests. For example, items over $1,000 may have IU turned on for only signature presence and CAR usability, while items over $5,000 may have all usability tests turned on.

Image Integrity (II) is important because The Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) Act Sect. 6801, the Financial Privacy Rule, requires financial institutions to implement safeguards to ensure security and confidentiality of customer records so customer data is protected and not shared with others. To ensure compliance, II reads the MICR line on the check image via Orbograph OCR recognition software and compares it to the image index within X9.37, X9.100.187, or image capture platform files. Using proprietary matching and voting algorithms, II identifies specific images which mismatch the index. These images are then routed to adjustments or return item processing.

Solution highlights include:

  • Lowest suspect rates in the industry
  • Integrated or individual use of IQ, IU or II
  • Support of FSTC and FED metrics
  • Highly accurate field readability tests via IU
  • Utilized by many of the top 25 US financial institutions and hundreds of community banks
  • Implemented in a wide range of workflows including RDC, ATM and check cashing
  • Migration program available to all Orbograph clients with migration credits
  • Free software upgrades
  • Performance monitoring and trend analysis by Orbograph Client Services

Tangible/Intangible Achievements

  • Reduce suspect rates compared to existing systems by up to 4%
  • Reduce staff management challenges and maximize FTE utilization
  • Improve the quality of images captured for existing customers
  • Minimize the number of adjustments returned due to poor quality or NCI
  • Seamlessly implement integratation into distributed capture applications
  • Identify defective images upfront and eliminate downstream recapture
  • Process thousands of images per minute and leverage hardware for multiple recognition applications (enterprise-wide)


“Due to the growth of distributed capture in an assortment of check processing environments, Orbograph IQUA and II solutions provide value to a broader range of customers than originally envisioned. The concepts of IQ, IU and II, continue to provide value in the check processing marketplace.”

- Avikam Baltsan
CTO and Co-President of Orbograph


Orbograph IQUA


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